Advertisement

The Cartesian Roots of Hume’s Scepticism

  • Zuzana Parusniková
Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)

Abstract

The Cartesian strand of Hume’s scepticism unfolds from the revolutionary change in the seventeenth century philosophy that can be called a turn to the subject; the old metaphysical framework in which everything, including our mind, was structured by a universal order was replaced by the independent human mind that broke free from any higher authority and became an autonomous and constructive cognitive agent. Descartes was the first to advance this idea and caused a paradigmatic change in philosophy that opened the modern era. Hume developed his philosophy on this ground and the fact that Hume turns to experience while Descartes turns to pure intellectual insight testifies to a secondary level of differences. The autonomy of the mind liberated man from metaphysical bonds but, at the same time, imprisoned him within his subjectivity, leading to phenomenalism. The question “what is beyond our mind?” becomes meaningless for Hume – it is something beyond experience and we have to suspend our judgment on this issue. Our beliefs and imagination are of course unaffected by this scepticism but are beyond the jurisdiction of reason.

Keywords

Metaphysics Being Mind Modernity Epistemology 

References

  1. Beebee, H. 2006. Hume on causation. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Beebee, H. 2007. The two definitions and the doctrine of necessity. In Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Vol. CVII, 413–431.Google Scholar
  3. Berkeley, G. 2004 [1710]. A treatise concerning the principles of human knowledge, ed. R. Woolhouse. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  4. Blackburn, S. 2007. Hume and thick connections. In ed. R. Read and K.A. Richman, 100–113.Google Scholar
  5. Blackburn, S. 2008. Hume. London: Granta Publications.Google Scholar
  6. Craig, E. 2007. Hume on causality: Projectivist and realist? In ed. R. Read and K.A. Richman, 113–122.Google Scholar
  7. Descartes, R. 1979a [1637]. Discourse on method. In Descartes. philosophical writings. Trans. E. Anscombe and P.T. Geach, 5–59. Nelson’s University Paperbacks.Google Scholar
  8. Descartes, R. 1979b [1641]. Meditations on first philosophy. In Descartes’ philosophical writings. Trans. E. Anscombe and P.T. Geach, 59–125. Nelson’s University Paperbacks.Google Scholar
  9. Descartes, R. 1985 [c. 1628]. Rules for the direction of the mind. In The philosophical writings of Descartes, vol. 1. Trans. J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff and D. Murdoch, 9–79. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Flew, A. 1986. David Hume. Philosopher of moral science. London/New York: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  11. Gillies, D. (ed.). 1995. Revolutions in mathematics. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  12. Hegel, G.W.F. 1894 [1837]. Lectures on the history of philosophy, vol. II. Trans. E.S. Haldane and F.H. Simson. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co.Google Scholar
  13. Hesiod. 1914 [c. 6 BC]. Theogony. Trans. Evelyn-White, H.G. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Husserl, E. 1970. The crisis of European science and transcendental phenomenology. Trans. D. Carr. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Kail, P.J.E. 2007. Projection and realism in Hume's philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kant, I. 1996 [1781]. The critique of pure reason. Trans. W.S. Pluhar. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  17. Koyré, A. 1979. Introduction. In Descartes. philosophical writings. Trans. E. Anscombe and P.T. Geach, vii–xlv. Nelson’s University Paperbacks.Google Scholar
  18. Kuhn, T. 1962. The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  19. Locke, J. 2011 [1689]. An essay concerning human understanding, ed. P.H. Nidditch. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Millican, P. 2007a. Against the ‘New Hume’. In ed. R. Read and K.A. Richman, 211–253.Google Scholar
  21. Millican, P. 2007b. Humes old and new: Four fashionable falsehoods, and one unfashionable truth. In Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. Supplementary vol. LXXXI, 163–199.Google Scholar
  22. Norton, D.F. 2009. An introduction to Hume’s thought. In The Cambridge companion to Hume, ed. D.F. Norton and J. Taylor, 1–40. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. O’Hear, A. 1985. What philosophy is. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  24. Passmore, J. 1952. Hume’s intentions. London: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Read. R., and K.A. Richman, ed. 2007. The New Hume debate, rev. ed. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Schacht, R. 1984. Classical modern philosophers. Descartes to Kant. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Strawson, G. 1989. The secret connexion: Causation, realism, and David Hume. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Strawson, G. 2007. David Hume: Objects and power. In ed. R. Read and K.A. Richman, 31–52.Google Scholar
  29. Stroud, B. 1977. Hume. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stroud, B. 2007. ‘Gilding or staining’ the world with ‘sentiments’ and ‘phantasms’. In ed. R. Read and K.A. Richman, 31–52.Google Scholar
  31. Winkler, K.P. 2007. The new Hume. In ed. R. Read and K.A. Richman, 52–87.Google Scholar
  32. Wright, J.P. 1983. The sceptical realism of David Hume. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zuzana Parusniková
    • 1
  1. 1.The Czech Academy of SciencesInstitute of PhilosophyPragueCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations